Tell me about yourself, David.I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was ten years old. I’d discovered my Dad’s collection of Andre Norton novels, and I wanted to write SF adventure novels just like those. My parents fed into this by buying me a typewriter (yes, I know, I’m showing my age), which was like the greatest present EVER.
Then life got in the way, I guess. I found out that the whole publishing industry was basically a machine for taking money away from writers, with all kinds of questionable gatekeepers, roadblocks and what any professional in any other field would call predatory practices. So I kind of gave up on The Dream until 2012, when I ended up having dinner with Hugh Howey, the best-selling author of Wool, and a few of his fans at the 2012 Worldcon in Chicago.
Hugh was the one who made me realize that this indie-publishing thing was a game-changer. The gatekeepers could be bypassed. Good stories could float to the top solely on their own merits. Suddenly, being a writer was a real option again. And my career in software development and project management was ideal preparation for creating products like ebooks, print editions and audio books.
So, here I am. The Dream is alive, finally. I’ve been writing for a while now. I’ve been honing my craft. My writing group and my Beta readers seem to like my stories. So 2017 is the year I start Publishing. The little birdies are tumbling out of the nest…
I work mostly at the novelette (roughly 30 – 70 pages) and novella (71 – 160 pages) lengths. Between anthologies and solo indie-published works, I’m expecting to release a story every 4 to 6 weeks in 2017.
My Current Book? Um, that’s not really how I work, because I don’t seem to be a novelist (yet, at least). Since I work primarily at shorter lengths, I’ve got multiple works that have just come out or will be coming out within the next month.
Tell me about your current Book:
I’ve got a novelette, “Road Trip,” appearing in an anthology called Reliquary, on the theme of relics: Rocco Fitch, a wounded veteran of the war in Afghanistan, doesn’t have much left to live for. He’s disabled, unemployed and his wife has left him, taking their daughter with her. Then a beggar, a war veteran like himself, offers to sell him a road.
It’s a mash-up of different genres, which seems to be my specialty. This one’s an urban fantasy buddy story with a crime/military slant and some truly badass bikers.
I have a series of stories about a Royal Bodyguard in a fantasy setting that I’ve been working on. The first one is appearing in May in an anthology called Worlds Enough: Fantastic Defenders: Even though Lydio Malik is the Royal Bodyguard for the infant Princess Analisa of Salasia, his fellow bodyguards ridicule him for his foreign heritage and his almost obsessive attention to detail. But when disaster looms, the kingdom’s enemies will discover that when he says, “Over my dead body!”—he means it.
This is a fantasy thriller story with chess overtones, like the movies Die Hard, Highlander and Searching for Bobby Fischer all got together and had a love-child.
And finally, I’m publishing a novelette called “The Good Book” as a solo story: Malcolm Jameson is planning to throw himself off a bridge when a passing bicyclist stops and hands him a magic book.
Unsurprisingly, the book has a considerably different plan for Malcolm.
And a bad attitude.
This one’s my outlier. It’s got a magic book in it, so it’s technically fantasy. But it’s really a story about finding a purpose in your life, so I guess it’s maybe really slipstream or magic realism or something painfully difficult to market.
What can I say? Sometimes my muse leads me into strange territories.
What are you working on now?Well, that’s an unexpectedly complicated question. My fellow writers in my writing group tell that I must be some kind of mutant, because I work on about eight stories at a time. It’s either some strange form of ADHD, or else a carry-over from the software development side of my life (the side that pays the bills), where I’m used to multi-tasking like a banshee. So, it’s kind of like I have a pipeline
(http://davidkeener.org/coming-soon) going, with multiple stories in progress at once, but all at different stages.
Right now, I’m working on a story called “SkyriZe” for a zombie anthology that I was invited to contribute to. My story summary is: Jack Johnson’s a computer nerd. He never expected to survive the zombie apocalypse, but he did. And in the worst place possible: the 88th floor of a skyrise in Manhattan, the most zombie-infested city in the country, maybe even the world. He’s got to escape the deadly tower he’s trapped in, plan how to survive long-term and, oh yeah, maybe eventually figure out how to reboot civilization.
Then I’ve got a story appearing later this year in another anthology called The Curator, on the theme of priceless artworks discovered in long-lost cache, with each story about a particular artwork. My story is called “Catalyst”: It’s 2636 and a traveling exhibition of priceless artworks has gone missing in the war-ravaged territory that used to be modern Brazil. Emily Dunkirk and her band of art historians and mercenaries are going to rescue the works. The obstacles to their success are fierce, and they’ll find more than they ever bargained for. They’ll also learn that, sometimes, the greatest works of art are painted in blood.
After that, there’s a sequel to “Road Trip” in the works and a couple sequels to my Royal Bodyguard story, plus, well, just go check out my Coming Soon (http://davidkeener.org/coming-soon) page on my blog. There’s a LOT of stuff in the pipeline (ideas are NOT a problem for me (it’s time that’s the problem (hey, move over Deadpool, you might be breaking the 4th wall all the time but I’ve got TRIPLE-NESTED parentheses))).
Where is your favorite place to be when you write?My house has a big kitchen with a 12-foot-long granite island. It’s like the ultimate desk, with lots of room to spread out. I generally sit on a stool at the island, often with multiple laptops going. Of course, it’s complicated because She Who Must Sometimes Be Listened To periodically insists that I clean it off. In fact, just to torment, uh, I mean tease, her, I generally refer to the island as my Desk.
What is your favorite Website?Gosh, how can you pick a single web site? The Internet is awesome, and terrible, and pervasive, and, ultimately, a real game-changer that I think people are still underestimating. It’s information at your fingertips. Just about anything you want to know, you can find out something about it on the net.
Some of the sites I visit most often are…Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org), Locus (the online presence of the industry magazine for the SF/Fantasy field) (www.locusmag.com) and, because I’m a movie buff, too: Box Office Mojo (www.boxofficemojo.com) and the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com).
- If you can’t get your name on Twitter, well, go for something (hopefully) memorable.